Plastic Fishing expands thanks to Starbucks 5p coffee cup charge

From today all UK Starbucks customers who get their coffee in a disposable cup will be charged 5p, which will be donated to Hubbub. Customers who take a reusable cup will avoid the charge and will also be given a 25p discount, making a total saving of 30p. Starbucks has taken this bold decision following an initial trial in 35 stores which saw an increase in the sale of hot drinks in reusable cups from 2.2% to 5.8%.

The nationwide expansion will give a nudge away from disposable cups and generate funding for community campaigns that speed the transition from avoidable single-use plastics.

Thanks to funding from the first 35 Starbucks stores Hubbub will be expanding Plastic Fishing trips to West London. With support from the Starbucks cup charge and Tideway a new boat made from 99% recycled plastic – much of it fished directly from the waterways around London – will be launched in Richmond at the end of August.

Since the start of 2018, Hubbub has organised 36 Plastic Fishing trips for businesses and schools around London’s Docklands. The trips take people out on boats to fish plastics from the water. The haul has been shocking including flip flops, hard hats, footballs, house for sale signs plus a mass of plastic packaging. To-date the trips have plucked 812 plastic bottles from the water.

The fishing trips demonstrate the negative impact that plastic has if it escapes into the natural environment but also shows that if it is captured for recycling it is a flexible and valuable resource that can be transformed into a variety of products.

The original idea for Plastic Fishing came from Canary Wharf College and they have helped ensure the educational impact of the trips is taken back into the classroom by working with Hubbub to create new curriculum materials promoting an anti-littering message and highlighting the advantages of a circular economy. The trips have generated enormous enthusiasm and debate amongst children one of whom described it as the second best day of his life!

The expansion of Plastic Fishing will allow more children and businesses to participate in West London cleaning up the waterways and promoting more awareness about the impact of plastic pollution.

This is just the beginning of a range of new activities that will be delivered through the Starbuck’s cup charge. Over the coming months Hubbub will be announcing:

  • The expansion of Plastic Fishing trips to another city.
  • The launch of a significant new social experiment designed to boost recycling on the go.
  • The development of three anti-littering campaigns stopping plastics entering our waterways building on the success of our #FFS campaign and Streets Ahead in Brighton.
  • Further campaigns promoting the reuse and recycling of coffee cups

As always we will share what we have learned and seek to help others to take the successful elements and build them into their campaigns.

Name the next Plastic Fishing boat

The first recycled plastic boat is called ‘Poly-Mer’, a name chosen through a social media competition and Hubbub is wondering whether this can be bettered. Post your name idea with the hashtag #NotBoatFace by the 9th August and the winning name will get a trip on its maiden voyage in London.


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